Same Time, Next Year

The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

12/05/2016 - 22/05/2016

Production Details

Paul Glover and Kate Elliott, two Auckland actors familiar to New Zealand audiences, will star in the popular, award winning, romantic comedy Same Time, Next Year at the PumpHouse Theatre in Takapuna in May. The show is directed by John Callen, who has over one hundred stage productions and a couple of dozen television series to his credit, as well as his acting and voice over work. 

Kate Elliott, who has won two best actress accolades at the NZ Film and TV Awards and has just wrapped shooting a bio pic of Jean Battens life, Jean, is known for her roles in Bliss, Shortland Street, The Cult and many other shows. Paul Glover’s experience includes television (Shortland Street, 800 Words, Spartacus, Making of the Mob 2) and stage roles with Auckland Theatre Company hits Lysistrata, A Doll’s House and In the Next Room among his repertoire. 

The play is set in California from the 1950s to 1970s and the plot follows New Jersey accountant George and Oakland housewife Doris, both married to others with six children between them, who meet by chance over dinner at an inn. Their ensuing love affair leads to a rendezvous once a year and as time goes on, each helps the other through personal crises, adapting to social changes and the development of a deep emotional intimacy neither had expected. With family dynamics relevant to any generation, twenty five years of manners and morals are hilariously and touchingly played out by the lovers. This play combines wit, compassion and a feel for nostalgia. 

The winner of the 1975 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New American Play Same Time, Next Year remains one of the worlds most popular and widely produced romantic comedies. Following Broadway and London success, this award winning play was also made into a 1978 film, starring Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda. 

The PumpHouse Theatre
Killarney Park Takapuna
Thursday 12th May to Sunday 22nd May 2016
Bookings 09-489 8360

Theatre ,

Betrayal dramedy warm as a fleeting embrace

Review by Janet McAllister 17th May 2016

This Tadpole production is an endearing tale of marital betrayal, more entertaining than one might expect for a romantic dramedy more than 40 years old.

George and Doris spend one weekend together every year although they are both happily married to other people.

We see them every five years for 25 years; the Presidential portrait on the wall changes from Truman to Ford … [More


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Fully invested in engaging characters

Review by Leigh Sykes 13th May 2016

Bernard Slade’s play follows George and Doris, who meet by chance over dinner and then, despite both being married to others, continue to meet over the course of the next twenty-five years. Over the course of their love affair, George, Doris and the world around them change in many ways. 

With only two characters, it is vital that we connect with them, and Paul Glover as George and Kate Elliot as Doris allow us to do that from the very beginning. Before a word is spoken we experience a sharply-observed and convincingly performed vignette of the ‘morning after the night before’ that has the audience laughing at the awkwardness each character shows at the realisation of what they have done. There is some good physical comedy from Glover as Elliot’s facial expressions tell us everything we need to know about the situation in this hotel room. 

The set (designed by Director John Callen and constructed by Nick Greer) also tells us much about the story. Furnished with the necessities of a good quality hotel (including a grand piano), the room is full of details that plunge us into the thick of the story immediately. The space gives the cast room to actually live in the room and make us believe that someone could comfortably inhabit it for a long weekend or more. The décor remains the same throughout the play, with subtle touches such as pictures and telephones being updated each time we move forward in time. 

In fact, the set changes between the scenes work very well. With the necessity of moving the action forward in time between each scene by making a number of small, but significant, changes to the set, there is the potential for these set changes to remove us from the action and dissipate our attention and investment in the characters. In this case, by using carefully chosen music (sound design by Sam Mence) to accompany the changes and letting us see the Stage Management team (led by Natasha Lay) at work, we are kept engaged and keen to see what has changed when the next scene begins.

The wonderfully appropriate costumes (by Robyn Fleming) also act to quickly anchor each new scene in its time and allow us to see time passing for the characters, while much in the room remains the same.

The heart of the play is in the characters of George and Doris as they grow and change over the twenty-five years of their affair. The early scenes move at a pace that keeps us involved, wanting to see what happens next for these seemingly unlikely lovers. The changes are quite subtle at first as George and Doris enjoy the fact that they have managed to keep their relationship together despite initial qualms.

The connection between Glover and Elliot is convincing, although it is Elliot’s Doris who seems to have the more attractive character in these early stages. Her laugh is heard frequently and this draws us to a character who is willing to be open and committed to the growing relationship. Glover has a harder task with George, whose lack of confidence can make him seem unsure and on edge. As an accountant, his world is ordered and logical, while Doris’ world seems more open to change.

The scene before the interval shows a bigger change for our couple, with Elliot making the most of the opportunity to play some effective and funny physical comedy, while Glover delivers some witty and incisive lines with energy and commitment. The first act ends on a high note with lots of laughter and a general feeling of enjoyment from the audience. 

In the second half, the changes for George, Doris and their worlds become much starker and it is here that Director John Callen’s deft touches allow us to connect with the many changes of emotion that result from these changes. We are taken from laughter to sorrow seamlessly, and the sorrow is more deeply felt and the joy more enriching because of that. We see different sides to the characters as their lives undergo some major fluctuations that reflect the upheavals taking place in the world beyond their hotel room, and we care about whether George and Doris will still find each other at the Same Time, Next Year.

Reflections on the large questions puzzling society through the time period the play covers are handled intelligently, allowing us to question our attitudes towards George and Doris as they take unconventional routes through the protests of the 60s and the liberation of the 70s. Much of this is handled within the script, but the direction and performances capture the nuances of the effect that these changes have on people with assurance.

When the final scene of the play arrives, we are invested in these characters and I find myself willing them towards a happy resolution. I encourage you to see the show to discover whether they find it. This is a show that has to have engaging performances to be successful, and we are fortunate that we have with two actors who connect so effectively with us and each other.  


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